P-Noy in Cebu

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino’s decision to celebrate Edsa 1 here in Cebu highlights the reality that the people power uprising was not merely a phenomenon limited to Metro Manila.

When then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Fidel Ramos held the fateful press conference that signaled their break from the dictatorship, Cory Aquino spoke before the biggest gathering of anti-dictatorship forces at Fuente Osmeña.

Both Enrile and Ramos had a lot to thank for when people power leaders that included Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin called on millions to surround the camps where both were holed up along with their men.


I am glad because for many Filipinos, Edsa 1 seemed to be mainly a Manila uprising. In fact, most published accounts that found national prominence resolved around events in Manila. The only account non-Cebuanos could remember was the account about Cory sleeping at the Carmelite monastery here in Cebu that night and flying to Manila the next day.


How will P-Noy treat Mayor Mike Rama, ally of an increasingly critical Vice President Jojo Binay? To recall, the mayor and his supporters were irked when the President visited Cebu City right after the September 2013 quake but did not coordinate with Cebu City Hall. Tomorrow, P-Noy chose to be at the Provincial Capitol with his LP ally Gov. Junjun Davide. But I think the mayor is invited so there should be no problem.


The surfacing of Ruby Tuason as a state witness got P-Noy’s “matuwid na daan” advocacy back on track as far as pushing the investigation and cases against the PDAF-Napoles scammers forward.

To recall, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada succeeded in derailing the investigation when he exposed DAP, which was later labeled as part of presidential pork. Today, I am optimistic that there will be Senate PDAF scammers who will be punished.

However, I just cannot understand what’s keeping P-Noy from pushing for the approval of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. FOI is crucial to transparency and good governance. It is a logical component of “matuwid na daan.”

Cases were, for example, filed against an LTO official the past months but it seems members of the Cebu media got wind of these only recently. FOI would facilitate the flow of information that should deter government men from corrupt practices.


Cebu has a lot of stories that need to be documented in history books. I hope Ma’am Zeny Uy, who used to head the Socio-Anthropology department of the University of San Carlos (USC), can contribute. Zeny was the first chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Cebu.

She is here in Cebu to attend to her eldest Sonny Boy who succumbed to cancer. Condolence, ma’am.


Curiously, Sonny Boy’s wake and that of slain lawyer Noel Archival are at the same funeral home. Both were once student activists. This presented former and present activists with a problem. Apparently, they also believed that one should not go to different wakes in one night. “Di maglabang-labang og haya.”


While judges and lawyers remember Noel Archival’s funny antics during hearings, former political detainees had different memories. Archival was also a human rights lawyer with the distinction of having contributed to the release of more political detainees.

I was told that Archival even helped in the recent release of former TFD worker Ramon Patriarca.

During my brief visit at his wake last Friday, a group of Selda members arrived to personally bring Noel flowers.

I was just intrigued by the fact that he was ambushed at the spot in Coro, Dalaguete where the body of the late Alona Bacolod Ecleo was found years ago.


There is more to the issue of congestion at the Cebu International Port (CIP). It has come to a point that local exporters will need to shell out more by bringing their goods to Manila before shipping these abroad. Importers are likewise beginning to unload their shipments in Manila. Unless a new bigger port is built, this will limit Cebu’s economic growth.

The transfer of the local judiciary to the Quimonda building will further complicate the situation at the port area. The judges will need silence at an area where big trucks and prime movers, including ships, frequently blow loud horns.

With the sheer volume of container vans, one can now see trucks queuing up to the Quimonda building, traffic will definitely worsen. There will be more private vehicles, PUJs, and taxicabs ferrying people in and out of Quimonda.

It is ironic. While port stakeholders are pushing for a ban on private vehicles in favor of trucks that help move our economy forward, the transfer of the judiciary indeed complicates the situation at the port.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 24, 2014.


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